A man who was sick of the ice problem in Echuca decided to punish a drug dealer by setting fire to his home - except he got the wrong address and instead frightened a teenage boy.
Aaron Brooke, 35, pleaded guilty in the County Court in Bendigo to aggravated burglary and arson in relation to the incident on October 29 last year.
Brooke had consumed the majority of a bottle of vodka and became agitated about the methamphetamine problem in Echuca and the effect on some friends.
He knew of a drug dealer and decided to take the matter into his own hands, going to the Crossen Street unit where he believed they lived.
But it was not the correct address and inside was a 17-year-old boy having a shower.
Brooke stood outside yelling abuse before he entered the unit and set fire to papers on a coffee table.
A boy, who was frightened by the yelling, remained in the shower until he heard the door close and the unit grow quiet. He then left the bathroom and discovered the fire, but managed to put it out with a towel.
Brooke was arrested a short time later.
He told police he thought the unit belonged to a drug dealer who had stolen from a friend, and he intended to scare the person inside.
In sentencing, Judge Howard Mason took into account that Brooke pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and had a limited criminal history, having only received a good behaviour bond 15 years ago.
Judge Mason said the damage from the fire was limited, although the incident was frightening for the victim.
He noted Brooke had maintained steady employment for 11 years and would resume work once the matter was finalised.
Brooke had suffered chronic alcoholism, Judge Mason said, but had undergone a rehabilitation program, was on medication and was attending Alcoholics Anonymous.
Judge Mason sentenced Brooke to a two-year community corrections order, including supervision and orders to undergo treatment and assessment for mental health, alcohol dependency and drug use.
He said the 38 days of pre-sentence detention Brooke had already served was sufficiently punitive, and given Brooke's expected full-time employment, any requirement for community work could "overwhelm" him and hamper his rehabilitation.
If not for his guilty plea, Brooke would have been jailed for two years with a non-parole period of 18 months.
Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in central Victoria.